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tv   [untitled]    December 2, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm PST

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(off mic) >> my name is clifford gilmore. i and a community organizer with the central city sro collaborative; we are the community organizing department for -- housing clinic. the focus is to have this ability and tenant rights issues; our mission is to keep people housed and to have quality housing as well. our coverage area is south of market, there are 250 sros in that area. we have drop-in services; people can come and talk about living conditions and seek
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remedies for some of those issues. part of what we also do is outreach in the community. it is a natural thing for us to be part of the survey. on the campaign on seniors and people living with disabilities. i want to mention a couple of things quickly. we would like for you to consider going forward. many of the sros are not accessible. that is one thing. and buildings and floors that are accessible, the preference be provided to people who are seniors and people living with disabilities. it is an important issue for this population. and a needed will continue to evolve. secondly, people who come in after hours at issues. what we hear our complaint
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driven. that can be challenging for people who put in a complaint and want a quick resolution. we think it would be helpful to have short time line for complaints when there are building or health code issues. particular for seniors. this issues that affect seniors and people with disabilities are pressing needs that need immediate remedy. it is helpful to consider around this population and how they will be able to continue to live here. and have quality of life. and being able to have that experience. with that i would like to bring forward a couple of our leaders from our leadership program. dan jordan and steven tennis
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(sounds like). >> hello, i'm dan jordan, a peer counselor with the central city sro collaborative and i live in an sro hotel on 6th. this hotel like so many is a walk up. mine is a four floor building. i live on the top floor. there's a lady that uses a wheelchair and is virtually held prisoner in her home. she cannot get in and out of the hotel unless someone is willing to carry her wheelchair down the stairs and back up.
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there are many elderly people living in these hotels, aging, becoming disable with no way to get in and out. if they could find the hotel that is wheelchair accessible, most of the time they cannot afford it. my own hotel now is $800 a month. when i moved in it was $525. in social security you are getting about $900 a month. they're not affordable. we need to do something about accessibility throughout the building. and again, mine is not accessible to the restroom for people with disabilities. and we don't have anything like that, bars or anything to hold on to in the showers. we have tile floors which are
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extremely slippery when sopay wet. people do fall and get hurt. i myself have fallen. i also wound up calling an ambulance. many residents who have fallen have broken hips, legs, arms. something really needs to get done with this and this and this we can get it done the better off our seniors and disabled people are going to be. thank you. >> thank you >> good afternoon. my name is stephen tennis. you will have to excuse me . i am more than a little bit nervous now. i have been associated with sros for a little over 22 years. i volunteer at central city sro collaborative now and have the last three years. i live at the hotel on -- and have lived there for 9 years.
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i have been a tenant organizer for the last three years; recently i am the disaster preparedness organizer for central city. for the 22 odd years in sros, one thing that has always bothered me is that people with disabilities and seniors are on every single floor of the hotels. (indiscernible) there are two wheelchair accessible rooms in the fifth floor. i know something can be done. it should be done. if there could be some type of legislation introduced that would require all sros, if you have a disability you are on the first floor. start from the first floor,
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working up. rather than indiscriminately. we know it is after is going to hit san francisco. we know that. what we don't know is when. the sooner we can get people off the top floors and down a lot more lives will be saved. thank you very much. >> chair: thank you. does that conclude our presentation? >> thank you for letting me shed some light into the issues. i want to start the conversation through the chair as to how do you see the mdc joining your effort and helping out this issue? what would you like to see from us? >> (off mic)
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>> i do know some of you know but, he's taking over housing advocacy and senior disability issues. you will get to know him. tony was reminding me about the technical assistance guidelines. that is one way to work with the council and the mayor's disability council, putting together the technical assistance guide, thinking of the different situations that come up. we are trying to get some photos of the department of building inspection answer some of the collaborative to
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have an idea what those differences are. anyone in the room can say i have seen the room like this and this, what if we find a room like this? there are various suggestions. is it jewels, right? i should say chairperson. have we thought about -- and some of the accessibility things that we may not have thought through, we would appreciate feedback and ideas on that. as we move forward with legislation we would love specific support. we are reaching out to all the supervisors and trying to get sponsorship and support and different ways. if some of you have specific relationships with some of the supervisors, we can talk about who we don't yet have on the sponsorship list.
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those connections will be great. would plan to do a rally and press conference on the steps of city hall. who want to use as an opportunity to change the law and raise awareness. we want to organize seniors and people with disabilities in sros to say we demand and deserve better. so that people can also say this is not what should be going on in our city. will like some of you to come out with us on that day, to the rally. maybe somebody representing the council should speak. testify before the land use committee that they. will be in touch with the mayor's office; presumably they will pass on to all of you when those things are happening. >> chair: jessica, i think the idea of including the mayor's
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disability council and the technical assistance guidelines is excellent. my colleagues are interested in that. before i -- have you been in contact with chief inspector bosky at the department of building inspection? she may be able to offer support as well. >> we have been working closely with rosemary bosky (sounds like) since the beginning; she has been wonderful, helping us understand what is in the code, what should be in the code, making amendments to the legislation as well. >> thank you. >> thank you for your presentations. my head is swimming actually. i would like to say that what we are talking about here - most of my colleagues would agree - clean, affordable
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housing are human rights. in the city of san francisco we have resources to see to it that that is the fact. with that said, first i want to talk a moment about bedbugs. i have a friend in an sro on jones -- he went through quite an ordeal to get management to respond; he call the department of public health. there were people in the building who were undocumented. others for whom images a second language and there were other cultural barriers to opening the door to someone who looks like an official for the government. there was a delay getting the exterminators in there, doing their job. i don't know if you are aware
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of this and is an effort is being made to educate the residents about the procedures necessary in order to eradicate the bugs. people will come and talk to you. >> (off mic) i know from experience since i had bedbugs in the past, i did most of my research at the point when i was directly impacted. there are all sorts of barriers. there is misinformation that bedbugs are the problem of the poor. if you are alive and emit heat
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you can have them. we are having bedbug workshops that we do in hotels and in bigger events when we invite people to come to our offices. we are actually doing outreach to managers and to landlords as well. the department of public health has put out a new version of the director's rules and regulations for control of bedbugs that went into effect in july. there are a lot of changes. it breaks down the responsibilities of landlords and property owners. it breaks down the responsibilities of the tenants. it breaks down the responsibilities of the certified pest control operator, which is a big improvement. it also has a timeline in chronological order. even the best case scenario
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bedbugs a very difficult to deal with. it takes a very long time. they don't physically get under your skin, but they are always in your mind. as this becomes something that more people are aware of, hopefully some of this that information and misinformation will start to go away. we have been working closely with the department of public health on this. we have been working with the bedbug working group. we have seen a lot of progress, especially in what the rules and regulations are on paper right now. it is so new at this point, the changes, there will be a period, a learning curve to see how this will be carried out. we are monitoring the responses
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as well. >> great. >> chair: thank you. councilmember -- >> i'm sorry, i have a two-part question. i want to talk about the elevator situation. i understand the age of the elevators, the 100-year old elevator, the motor has to be taken out. pulleys and other parts. it is extremely expensive, beyond the means of most building owners even. the process of moving people from upper floors the lower floors, while a lofty goal, seems to me it would take a long time. it is not something that can be easily done. you have existing tenants on the bottom floor. and so many disabled and seniors in one building that
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you start going floors up anyway. can something be done with tax breaks? something to get modern elevators in these buildings? >> tax breaks are not my specialty. >> (off mic) not to pass the buck, by the financial and physical feasability, we have not seen this as a political issue. maybe we could organize around that. >> the councilmember suggestion
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of tax raises an interesting one. the technical challenge of replacing an existing elevator, the financial challenge of replacing it, we are talking about millions of dollars at times to do this type of work. it's complicated. >> thank you. >> chair: thank you. i lived in a 100-year-old building for 15 years. the elevator was never broken down. if you have enforcement, if the elevator breaks down and penalties apply that might be of assistance. >> if i could comment chairperson.
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one of the comments of councilmember -- is that older elevators have parts that have to be custom fabricated in order to make a repair. you do have the circumstance sometimes where you have a property owner who wants to make the fix to keep the elevator functioning but it can be out of service for days, weeks, in some cases months. that has been our personal experience at the war memorial building which has old elevators. we have two, a redundancy. we have had one elevator out for weeks at the time while parks are being fabricated. >> chair: thank you. councilmember -- followed by -- >> i wanted add as well, a mix of times where you have old
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elevators and property managers that want to do the right thing, and those that don't want to do the right thing. it is easy to say this will take a while to get it, so wait a week to even order the part. that is part of the effort to work with the department of buildings action and the department of public health to make sure the enforcement is tight. if the landlord can say, here is my proof, here is a document. this part would not be in for two weeks versus oh yeah, i working on it. >> just really quickly i want to say too that there are some things that we can do. i can think of some buildings that do have elevators. another characteristic about sros, is that there are virtually - the vast majority
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of them have some sort of bar, restaurant, boutique, something going on on the ground floor. so the ground floor is a small area with either an elevator or staircase it goes up to the second floor where most of the rooms are. also where the desk clerk sits, at the top of the stairs. we have seen problems when there is a working elevator of the door to the elevator on the bottom floor is out of service or bolted shut, or in some way not accessible for people. you still have to go up the first flight of stairs to go into the elevator and go up to the fifth floor. situations like that, there is room for improvement, not expensive. quicker to implement.
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>> i also want to add quickly in response to councilmember -- your question about, is it too lengthy process to try to move people? in a lot of sros, there is a lot of movement around. sometimes the landlord will do it on purpose, they won't let someone stay long enough to get tenant rights. it is not a complete fix. it is something that could help a little bit. and obviously for all the reasons that people said, not to get everyone who needs to be on the first floor on the ground for but at least looking at moving people down closer to the bottom. >> chair: we are going to take a break in a few minutes.
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so if we could simplify our comments here about. >> thank you very much for coming. i appreciate your presentation today, and the residents. thank you for speaking. what i want to speak to, is a person with invisible his disabilities, a person with different challenges than a person with a wheelchair and mighty the first floor too. i have a friend. they're having a hard time because they don't have visible disabilities. what do you guys do about that? i know we don't have the time. but maybe you can send us back some information. tell us about some steps that you go through to get help like that. and if they are giving the same opportunity as a person
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with a physical disability. >> i will say briefly that that is definitely something that we talked about in looking at things that people have access to services, getting good information, that the enforcement is good. we want to make sure that is true for every person with a disability. in looking at the enforcement, the idea came out early on and i'm sorry, i will go on too long, having a separate enforcement time if the problem affects a senior or person with disability. how do people document whether the person had disabilities? that gets complicated. a lot of people get left out. those of things that we thought about. it sounds like it is an area where you have specific ideas.
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we can make sure that if people have invisible disabilities, and have needs, we want to hear them. >> the concept of reasonable accommodation under the fair housing amendment act. part of what the issues are in your recommendations, jessica, doing outreach with tenants about the fair housing amendment act rights, and the opportunity to actually create a reasonable accommodation for the landlord, that would allow for submission of the medical documentation for disability. that is not unheard of. that takes care the fact of nonvisible disabilities.
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there is also the fear of retaliation, particularly in places where there is not enough control because of the lack of the city contract. we have a lot of success in city funded sros, and nonprofit organizations. that everybody can benefit from knowing what their civil rights are in terms of their housing. >> chair: thank you. cochair james, and program administrator -- >> i have a two-part question. one part is about the desk clerks and having someone who listen to you if you have a complaint. the complaint goes to management? they know they are trained to de escalate situation?
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i don't know about the training that desk clerks would have at sros. >> i think that the short answer is, that depends. a lot of nonprofit housing providers have their own training and standards to what desk clerks are trained in. yes, there are nonprofit-run sros, who have well-trained desk clerks. the vast majority are private buildings. they're not huge buildings that are very apparent. that could be 3-4 floors abouve a restaurant. that's just the person hired by
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the property manager, or have some sort of agreement for trade for work. and the function of that person is often to buzz people in or call 911. we are looking at raising the bar to where some of the training levels are at some of the nonprofit buildings. we have technical problems with that. in chinatown for example the norm is not to have a desk clerk. people buzz each other in. they're different than the sros we see in mission or tenderloing.
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people preferred like that when we talk to them; they felt that they are a tighter community. we need to get more input from people who have lived in the buildings and get to hear the points of view. by a large there is a lot of room for improvement in the training level that desk clerks have. one more thing. in order to follow fair housing laws and to make sure there is coverage through a 24-hour period, taking into consideration when people are sick and out for vacation, it becomes a large expense to a hotel; we anticipated that if we want to go forward with this, there will be a lot of pushback from building owners and people who will have to bear that cost in order to comply with those laws.


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